Cannabinoids 101

Cannabinoids are a diverse set of chemical compounds that bind to special receptors in the human body that make up what is known as the endocannabinoid system. The “key and lock” metaphor is often used to describe this process. The human body possesses specific binding sites (“locks”) on the surface of many cell types, and our body produces several endocannabinoids (“keys”) that bind to these cannabinoid receptors (CB) to activate or “unlock” them.

In 1992, for the first time an endogenous substance which binds to cannabinoid receptors was detected. This substance, known as anandamide, comes from the Sanskrit word “Ananda” for bliss and “amide” due to its chemical structure. A second endocannabinoid was discovered in 1995, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). These two endocannabinoids are the best studied so far. Today, it is thought that about 200+ related substances exist, which resemble the endocannabinoids and complement their function in what has been termed the “entourage effect.” Several endocannabinoids do not only bind to cannabinoid receptors, but also to a possible CB3 receptor (the GPR55 receptor), to vanilloid receptors and further receptors.

In addition to endocannabinoids, scientists have now identified cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant (phytocannabinoids) that work to mimic or counteract the effects of some endocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids and terpenes are manufactured in resin glands (trichomes) present on the flowers and main fan leaves of late-stage cannabis plants. The amount of resin produced and its cannabinoid content varies by plant gender, growing conditions and harvesting time. The chemical stability of cannabinoids in harvested plant material is affected by moisture, temperature, light and storage, but will degrade over time in any storage conditions.

When a cannabinoid causes a receptor to act in the same way as it would to a naturally occurring hormone or neurotransmitter, then it is labeled “agonist.” On the other hand, if the cannabinoid prevents the receptor from binding to the naturally occurring compound, thereby causing the resulting event (e.g., pain, appetite, alertness) to be altered or diminished, it is labeled “antagonist.” Research is mounting to better understand how specific cannabinoids can unlock (or lock in some cases) specific receptors.

Over 100 phytocannabinoids have been identified in the cannabis plant, many of which have documentedmedicinal value. Most are closely related or differ by only a single chemical part. The most talked-about and researched cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for its psychoactive properties (“high feeling”) and cannabidiol (CBD) for its healing properties.

Cannabinoids can be administered by smoking, vaporizing, oral ingestion, transdermal patch, intravenous injection, sublingual absorption or rectal suppository.

 

 

Read the full article at Medical Jane.

The Endocannabinoid System: A History of Endocannabinoids and Cannabis

Have you ever wondered why marijuana affects us the way it does? What is it that makes THC and CBD react with our bodies, healing and offering relief to the ill? What makes this plant such a diverse medicine, able to treat such a large number of vastly different conditions?

If you had asked this question fifty years ago, there wouldn’t have been an answer for you to find. Unfortunately, the extraction methods available in the early 1900s made it difficult to determine which one of the 80+ cannabinoids found in cannabis was the psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for the effects of marijuana.

The truth is, it’s only been in the last couple of decades that scientists have truly even begun to understand the ways cannabis works within our bodies.

It all started with a scientific breakthrough in 1964, when a scientist from Israel named Raphael Mechoulam was able to identify and isolate THC for the first time – just prior to which they were able to identify CBD as well.

Being able to isolate these cannabinoids for the first time was the first stepping stone in discovering the endocannabinoid system – a biological system that can be found in just about any living thing with vertebrae.

“By using a plant that has been around for thousands of years, we discovered a new physiological system of immense importance,” says Raphael Mechoulam, the dean of the transnational cannabinoid research community. “We wouldn’t have been able to get there if we had not looked at the plant.”

In 1988, the first cannabinoid receptor was found in the brain of a rat. Initially found by Allyn Howlett and William Devane these cannabinoid receptors turned out to be plentiful in the brain – more so than any other neurotransmitter receptor.

Soon after this discovery researchers started using a synthetic form of THC (which is actually FDA approved these days, to treat severe nausea and wasting syndrome) to start mapping the CB receptors in the brain. Not much of a surprise, the receptors were located primarily found in the regions responsible for mental and physiological processes including memory, higher cognition, motor coordination, appetite and emotions among other places.

 

 

 

Read the full article at Marijuana Times.

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Nevada Lawmakers Clear The Way For Test Crops Of Hemp

Marijuana’s useful cousin hemp could soon be sprouting on test plots in Nevada after a legislative subcommittee gave final approval Thursday to regulations overseeing the pilot project.

Robert Little, plant division administrator at the Nevada Department of Agriculture, said the agency already has received a handful of applications to grow the plant and anticipates receiving around 20.

Senate Bill 305, passed by the 2015 Legislature, allows limited growing of hemp for research.

The regulations require a $500 application fee to cover the administrative costs of overseeing the project, Little said. Additionally, the department will charge $1 for every pound of seed purchased, as well as $1 per acre to pay for pre-harvest inspections.

Little explained that obtaining viable seed is a federal offense without a permit, and a federal law that allows states to oversee hemp growing for research comes with strict requirements.

 

Read the full article at Las Vegas Review Journal.

This Doctor Destroys Cannabis Myths Once And For All

This article was first published on IllegallyHealed.com.

We sat down with founder of Healer.com, Dr. Dustin Sulak, a licensed osteopathic physician, about the most common myths about cannabis, many of which have been sponsored by industries that benefit from the prohibition of cannabis, along with the facts.

Here’s the most common cannabis myths — destroyed:

Cannabis Kills Brain Cells And Lowers IQ

Interestingly, numerous studies have proven cannabis does just the opposite — it promotes the growth and development of new brain cells [1]. No other class of compounds has demonstrated the neuroprotective effects of cannabis. Very promising animal studies show that treating brain injuries, including newborn babies lacking oxygen [2], victims of stroke, and head trauma, all sustain less damage and heal faster if they are given cannabinoids, the substances found in cannabis, or their synthetic counterparts [3]. Cannabinoids also protect the brain from slower forms of injury, like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis [4], especially when used in the correct dosage.

While cannabis can cause some temporary cognitive changes, such as a decrease in short term memory, these changes are reversible when an adult stops using cannabis [5].

Cannabis Makes You “Stoned” Or “High”

Smoking or ingesting marijuana can cause a psychoactive effect, which most people describe as a pleasant euphoria and enhancement of the senses, but it can include less desirable features like sedation and paranoia. Pleasant or uncomfortable, a growing number of patients want the medical benefits of cannabis without any intoxication or impairment in function — they want to use it while working, safely driving, and more. This is both possible, and practical.

After decades of selective breeding to produce the most intoxicating strains of cannabis, sought after by recreational users and dealers in the underground market, medical cannabis breeders are now producing strains that emphasize the health benefits and reduce or eliminate the psychoactivity [6].

 

 

Read the full article here.

Cannabis Root Is A Buried Treasure

“Given our exhaustive use of the hemp and Cannabis plant – making use of the fiber, leaves, flowers, seeds and resin – it seems strange that there should be any element that has thus far escaped the notice of the modern herbalist. Perhaps because it usually spends its days hidden beneath the soil, the humble root is vastly under-explored, compared to the other components of the plant. However, looking at pre-prohibition medical- and veterinary literature, it is apparent that our ancestors (as with so many lost secrets and traditions) knew very well about its specific healing properties.”

Our Friend Bob has volunteered to analyze the cannabis root study conducted by Blair Van Pelt to understand the explanation as to the components that are compiled in cannabis root.

He writes; I took another nice read through Pelt and Riesenberg study. They found no alkaloids in the 26.06 grams of dried roots from the 9 cannabis sativa plants (variety Bedrocan) that they used in their study but they DID find the Glycoside, 3 different kinds of fatty acids, sugars, and 2 different lipids. 1 lipid was unidentified and the other was identified but they weren’t sure if it was biologically active. They expected to find alkaloids in the root but didn’t in this study.

 

Read the full article at Hemp-Eaze.

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The Brain Needs Cannabinoids And Dietary Hemp Is The Answer

There are over 400 phytonutrients that exist in Hemp Plants. Hemp is often mistaken for its cannabis cousin, marijuana, even though smoking an entire garbage bag of hemp would not produce an altered state of consciousness. Optimal brain health is achieved when linoleic acid (LA) and alpha linoleic acid (ALA) are consumed in a ratio only naturally found in hemp.

The brain also has a requirement for cannabinoids, which regulate most of the major functions of the body including alertness, emotions, inflammation and cancer defences. The brain can make a small number of its own cannabinoids, but as 4,000 years of history and decades of scientific research indicate, it operates optimally when supplied with dietary cannabinoids, such as those found in hemp.

The brain can build itself from saturated and monounsaturated fats but it has a preference for Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Research on humans and animals suggests that optimal brain health is achieved when linoleic acid (LA) and alpha linoleic acid (ALA) are consumed in a ratio of between 3.5:1 and 4:1–a ratio only naturally found in hemp.

Like other oil seeds, the hemp nut consists mainly of oil (typically 44%), protein (33%) and dietary fiber and other carbohydrates (12%, predominantly from residues of the hull). In addition, the nut contains vitamins (particularly the tocopherols and tocotrienols of the Vitamin E complex), phytosterols and trace minerals. Overall, hemp’s main nutritional advantage over other seeds lies in the composition of its oil, i.e. its fatty acid profile, and in its protein which contains all of the essential amino acids in nutritionally significant amounts and in a desirable ratio. More and more people are discovering the nutritional benefits of hemp seed, nut and oil.

What’s The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?

Confusion amongst the public on how exactly hemp oil differs from cannabidiol, or CBD, oil, has prompted the nonprofit Hemp Industries Association to issue a statement explaining the difference between the oils in order to ensure that consumers — specifically, medical marijuana patients — are not misled about the intended uses.

Confusion between hemp oil and marijuana oil has spiked recently, as states have passed medical marijuana laws that allow for the use of strains of marijuana that are low in THC and high in CBD. Consumers often confuse hemp oil with CBD oil because both are low in THC and contain CBD.

“With hemp research and development pilot programs taking off this spring, and the hemp retail market growing at an incredible rate, it’s crucial that consumers and retailers alike understand the difference between hemp oil and CBD extracts,” Eric Steenstra, executive director of Hemp Industries Association, said in a separate statement.
“Our Hemp Industries Association position regarding this distinction calls on makers of CBD products to brand and market their products truthfully and clearly, so as to not further the confusion surrounding CBD products in the marketplace.”

Though hemp oil does contain low levels of CBD, typically less than 25 parts per million (ppm), CBD extracts “are produced either directly from cannabis flowers that are up to 15 percent CBD (150,000 ppm), or indirectly as a co-product of the flowers and leaves that are mixed in with the stalks during hemp stalk processing for fiber.”

Because of this distinction, the association says, “It is important for American farmers and processors of hemp to understand that most CBD in products mislabeled as ‘hemp oil’ is a product of large-scale hemp stalk and fiber processing facilities in Europe where the fiber is the primary material produced at a large scale.

“CBD is not a product or component of hemp seeds, and labeling to that effect is misleading and motivated by the desire to take advantage of the legal gray area of CBD under federal law.”

The reason hemp is illegal is not because of any negative impact to the environment or human health, but exactly the opposite. It is so environmentally friendly, nutritionally and medicinally beneficial, that it provides too many abundant resources which would make it impossible for powerful corporations to compete.

Although hemp was once the most important cash crop in the United States — more so than corn and wheat combined — hemp was banned and classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. While classification as a Schedule I drug meant hemp could no longer be grown in the U.S., products containing hemp, such as lotions, fabric and food, are legal for purchase in the U.S. and are often found at natural and health food retailers including Whole Foods, Costco and Sprouts grocers.

Epilepsy and Brain Health

In many forms of epilepsy, damage to or faulty development of glucose receptors on brain cell membranes can starve brain cells of their preferred energy source. Going hand in hand with demand for glucose is oxygen delivery to brain cells. Depletion of either can result in a significant decrease in mental function.

Furthermore, essential fatty acid deficiency can lead to instability of brain cell membranes. This leaves the brain susceptible to damage and can cause aberrant electrical activity, resulting in seizures which in turn can cause further brain damage. This is a vicious circle of deficiency, dysfunction and deterioration.

A ketogenic diet is one in which a dietary emphasis on the medium chain triglycerides found in coconut oil leads to the production of ketones that can serve as an alternative energy source for brain cells. It has shown some limited success in improving function in metabolic conditions such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

One possible reason for the modest success of some ketogenic approaches was the substitution of real food with highly processed powdered formulas consisting mostly of synthetic chemicals. Some even include synthetic omega 3 and 6 compounds, the synthetic sweetener sucralose and genetically modified high fructose corn syrup, all of which are suspected of actually causing brain damage and/or seizures.

According to scientific and clinical studies, hemp oil has the potential to help a range of conditions including epilepsy, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic pain, alcoholism, schizophrenia, PTSD, antibiotic-resistant infections, and various neurological disorders.

In addition to trying an alternative energy source, what if it were possible to address the underlying source of the brain’s energy problems? Here are five ways hemp could be the answer to combating epilepsy.

 

Read the full article here: wakingtimes.com

Written by: Marco Torres

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This Is Why Shonda Banda’s Cannabis Trial Is Important To Not Just Kansas, but The Entire Country

One of the biggest medical cannabis cases in the country is starting up in the heart of Kansas. Shona Banda is facing, what could be, the rest of her life in prison. Last year Banda was the target of a raid by law enforcement in Garden City, Kansas.

Officers conducted the raid after Banda’s 11-year-old son apparently knew “too much information” in relation to cannabis during a drug education class at his school. Remind you, Banda’s son lived in Colorado, where his mother is a medicinal marijuana patient and advocate.

Banda’s son was interviewed by law enforcement officers without having a parent or lawyer even notified. The state has also charged Banda with child endagerment, which shows how ridiculous their views on cannabis really are. This is not a cartel bust we are talking about, this is a middle aged mother. A mother who also suffers from an illness.

Banda suffers from Crohn’s disease, which she treats with cannabis. She wrote a book titled, “Live Free or Die: Reclaim Your Life… Reclaim Your Country.” Banda and her son both have a plethora of knowledge when it comes to the medical usage of cannabis. Knowledge that the state of Kansas refuses to accept.

This is why Banda’s trial is so significant. Yesterday was the arraignment for Kansas versus Shona Banda. It was decided that a 3 day motions hearing will be set to happen from July 27-29. This hearing will decide what scientific evidence will be allowed on behalf of the defense to show that Banda’s cannabis use is a medical necessity. This may force the state of Kansas to view cannabis as a medicine for the first time ever!

Instead of accepting a plea, Banda and her attorney, Sarah Swain, have decided to fight the state head on. Why you may wonder? Because Banda is not guilty of committing a crime for wanting to treat herself with a plant. Banda turned to cannabis to help with her Crohn’s, instead of risking further internal damage by taking pharmaceuticals.

Crohn’s disease is one of the many diseases that has shown positive results when treated with cannabis. Last week Daily Haze did an article on a Colorado man that is doing a 30 day trial of treating his Crohn’s disease with a high THC/CBD suppository.

Banda will be breaking ground in the Sunflower State. Never before has anyone based their defense off the grounds of cannabis being a medical necessity. Her case could force Kansas to take a step towards ending their foolish prohibition of those who would prefer to use medicinal marijuana over a dangerous pill.

Kansas is by far one of the least progressive states in the country in regards to cannabis, among many other things. The state desperately clings on to their outdated view of marijuana. Leading this ridiculous battle against medicinal cannabis is the state’s Chair of Health and Wellness, Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook.

 

 

Read the full article here: dailyhaze.com

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Morgan Freeman Defends His Marijuana Use: “I’ll Eat It, Drink It, Smoke It, Snort It”

Recently Morgan Freeman met with the Daily Beast to discuss his upcoming movie, however, another very interesting topic took up much of the discussion. Freeman describes his appreciation of pot, as well as supports the current movement to legalize it.

“They used to say, ‘You smoke that stuff, boy, you get hooked! My first wife got me into it many years ago. How do I take it? However it comes! I’ll eat it, drink it, smoke it, snort it! This movement is really a long time coming, and it’s getting legs—longer legs.

 

Freeman doesn’t stop there, he continues on to make comments about his distaste to alcohol, “Now, the thrust is understanding that alcohol has no real medicinal use. Maybe if you have one drink it’ll quiet you down, but two or three and you’re fucked.”

 

 

Read the full article: medprecautions.com

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Marijuana derivative ‘shatter’ poses risks, policy challenges

Use of butane to extract THC from pot plant material can cause explosions

The marijuana derivative drug shatter can have a consistency resembling peanut brittle. (Brennan Linsley/Associated Press)

 

It’s been called “marijuana on steroids.”

And it comes with a THC concentration far beyond anything a run-of-the-mill joint would offer.

With that potency, along with the dangers from its production, shatter is offering police and policy makers a new set of challenges, perhaps particularly as the federal government moves toward legalizing marijuana.

“It’s the highly variable [tetrahydrocannabinol] concentration that you see where a lot of people get into dangers,” says Matthew Young, a senior research and policy analyst at the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

“They don’t really know how much they’re taking. Without knowing how much they’re taking, they don’t necessarily know the effects it’s going to have on their mind and body.”

Strong marijuana derivatives like shatter are nothing new. But shatter has been drawing more public and police attention in recent months because of the potential for explosion as it is made, using the volatile solvent butane to extract the THC from the marijuana “shake” or plant leftovers.

“The risks and the hazards related to the production of shatter are as high if not higher than a methamphetamine lab because of the amount of solvents that’s being used,” says Luc Chicoine, the RCMP’s national drug program co-ordinator.

“Those solvents go in the air. Often it’s being done in residences and in enclosed areas, and then you’re increasing the risk for explosion.”

Hard to get the numbers

Tracking shatter — which can have a consistency like hard caramel or peanut brittle — across Canada is not that easy. Police reports don’t necessarily break out shatter separately from other forms of marijuana, although news releases sometimes mention its seizure.

“Typically shatter won’t be found by itself,” says Mike Serr, deputy chief constable of the Abbotsford Police Department and chair of the drug abuse committee for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

Shatter drug
Shatter is sometimes produced using the solvent butane to extract the THC from the ‘shake’ or leftovers of the marijuana plant. (CBC)
While shatter has been turning up in police reports across the country, it has emerged in particular in B.C.

Going back to 2013, police have come across seven marijuana oil extraction labs in the Lower Mainland. Six of those discoveries were the result of an explosion, says Serr, In most cases, there was at least one person injured. In one instance, it led to a death.

Serr sees several reasons for the increasing attention being paid to shatter.

“I think the culture around marijuana is changing. People are always looking for new products, derivatives, edibles and those kinds of things,” he says, noting also a “change in the culture” because of all the talk about the possible medical uses of marijuana and legalization.

 

Read the full article: cbc.ca

Written by: Janet Davison